Doctor Who #675: Delta and the Bannermen Part 3

"Ready to rock and roll."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Nov.16 1987.

IN THIS ONE... Delta's baby becomes a new princess, Billy turns himself into a spaceman, and the Bannermen are defeated.

REVIEW: You'd think telling this story in only three parts would keep the padding down to a minimum, but there's an awful lot of racing around on motorcycles in the finale. And yet, it also feels like there's an act missing. Gravok lets the Doctor leave with the hostages much too easily. You keep waiting for the double-cross and it never comes. Sure, he booby-traps the TARDIS, but that's just to prevent the Doctor from giving Delta and her little princess a means of escape. And then Mel kind of just disappears as every other character, including some pretty secondary ones, are given all the lines and bits. So, yes, the story would have benefited from a fourth episode (or at least from cutting down on the driving scenes).

One such secondary character is the beekeeper, who's mostly there to talk about the bees' life cycle, because it mirrors the Chimerons'. It worked in Part 2, but it's a bit on the nose when he's saying these things while Delta is in the room feeding her daughter royal jelly from a tube. Still, the beekeeper is an enigmatic character, his head so far in the clouds you can steal the table he's sitting at without him noticing, and the knowing look he gives after the TARDIS dematerializes seems to say he's more than he let's slip. Another Time Lord in hiding on Earth? Regardless, he's due for a nasty surprise when he finds decades of fine honey smashed in his shed, courtesy of the Doctor's trap for the Bannermen. They could have done more with the character, and left the silly Americans out. They don't add very much to the story. As for Billy, he's so taken with Delta, he starts taking royal jelly to turn himself into a Chimeron so they can restart the race. Sadly, this love story has no spark, and Billy just comes off as creepy and/or deranged. Ray's better off without him.

Fun musical cues once again (mostly covers of 50s songs), and the story kind of ends like Grease, with the lovers flying off into the sunset while people on motorcycles wave goodbye. It should be noted that they did win the day with song, though not rock'n'roll, just rock'n'roll speakers. I like the look the Doctor gives Ray at the end, as if he's thinking of inviting her to join his travels, but thinking better of it when she fails his test. See, when the Doctor says your bike could be improved, don't sing the praises of the status quo. That's a sure sign that you're happy where you are and aren't TARDIS material. I just now noticed this is the first appearance of the 7th Doctor's question mark umbrella, replacing the ordinary one he had in the previous two stories, but though I've seen this story maybe four times now, I also only now noticed the Bannermen were called that because a lot of them carry war banners on their backs. I guess I'm a little slow. Because it's a story about rock'n'roll, I never looked beyond the title sounding like a band's name (Echo and the Bunnymen, most obviously), I guess.

VERSIONS: The Target novelization features an epilogue in which Delta and Billy reach the brood planet which is covered in hexagons (i.e. honeycombs) and the Bannermen are taken to galactic court. The Bannermen are a whole species, not a simple mercenary band. The two Americans have been posted to Wales as a demotion, explaining why they're pathetic and desperate to get in the White House's good graces. The book is most famous for two misprints, the spine calling it Delta and the Bannerman (singular), and the Doctor "peeing over a shelf" (actually, "peering"). Good times.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - A fun romp with some action and music, but padding in a three-parter is almost inexcusable and the romance element is the pits.

STORY REWATCHABILITY: Medium
- I like the whimsy and atmosphere, but it never quite comes together. There's just too much happening, not always keeping to the story's tone, for it to really rock my socks off.

4 comments:

Jayunderscorezero said...

Or Echo and the Bunnymen...

Siskoid said...

That's what I should have said, but I was fighting a coma when I wrote that. Told you - slow.

Madeley said...

Haven't watched this story in years- certainly pre-new-Who. The only thing I really remember about it is the usual annoyance at the inclusion of the Stereotypical Welsh, and the holiday camp setting perpetuating the idea of Wales just being somewhere that the English go on holiday.

Of course, we're the home of the show these days, so that lessens the sting a bit.

Siskoid said...

I know your pain, given the terrible Quebec productions that fob off Quebeckers as Acadians and always make stories in New Brunswick about fishing villages and nothing else.

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine